College Football Odds, Best Bets: Afternoon Picks for Michigan State vs Washington, South Carolina vs Georgia
Photo by Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rome Odunze (Washington)
- Week 3 of the college football season rolls on with our afternoon best bets.
- Our staff came through with three picks for Saturday's afternoon games, including Michigan State vs Washington and South Carolina vs Georgia.
- Read on for all three of our college football Week 3 afternoon best bets.
College football Week 3 rolls on with our experts providing three best bets for the Saturday afternoon slate, including Washington vs. Michigan State, Western Michigan vs. Iowa and more.
Dive in below and get the best college football odds, picks and best bets for the Saturday afternoon games on Sept. 16.
College Football Week 3 Saturday Afternoon Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
South Carolina vs. Georgia
Georgia and South Carolina open SEC play between the hedges, and Gamecock fans may need to form a prayer circle around Spencer Rattler.
The biggest factor in this game will be the Georgia defensive front versus the South Carolina offensive line — which to this point has been the equivalent of the old-security-guard-patting-someone-down meme.
Through just two games, South Carolina has allowed 23 tackles for loss (seven against Furman) and 10 sacks. The Gamecocks’ offense ranks 129th in Havoc.
Georgia’s defensive front hasn’t quite been up to Georgia standards in terms of pass rush (just one sack), but it still has a significant talent advantage that should wreak havoc on Rattler, who’s third in the FBS with 349 yards passing per game.
While Georgia has struggled to find its run game, Carson Beck has been effective in his first season, mounting big leads early before finding a spot on the bench — all without the help of Ladd McConkey.
The Gamecocks rank 106th and 130th, respectively, in Defensive Pass Success and Havoc, so Beck should have time to find his receivers and keep pace on Georgia’s current scoring pace in the 40s.
Then there’s what this game means to Kirby Smart, who’s going against his former assistant Shane Beamer.
It seems as though Smart enjoys running up the score on Beamer and likely wants to make a statement after non-descript games versus UT Martin and Ball State.
Georgia has outscored South Carolina in the second half by a combined score of 38-14 in the last two seasons, despite holding a 50-6 advantage in the first half.
Even when the starters come out, the Bulldogs won’t be afraid to keep their foot on the gas.
This is going to be a long day for the Gamecocks’ offense as the Bulldogs never let up.
Western Michigan vs. Iowa
How about we continue things with a four-touchdown favorite in a game with a total of 43? If that sounds wild to you, it's because we haven't seen that happen between FBS teams in 15 years.
I've probably lost my mind (again), but I actually like the heavily-favored Hawkeyes in this spot. Hopefully, it doesn't take as long as the seven hours (due to multiple weather delays) the Hawkeyes needed to barely cover as 24-point favorites for us against Nevada last season.
In that particular game, Nevada had no chance of ever really scoring, averaging 2.9 and 1.9 yards per pass and rush, respectively. When the final whistle blew, Iowa's defense had allowed a meager 151 total yards.
I'm expecting a similar output for a similarly inept Western Michigan offense.
The Broncos lost all of their best skill-position players in the offseason and still haven't even identified a starting quarterback. All three QBs are expected to take snaps on Saturday, which could spell doom against Iowa's ball-hawking secondary.
Last week, the Broncos lost to Syracuse, 48-7, but that could have been much worse if the Orange didn't pack it in after leading 45-7 at the half.
Admittedly, the Iowa offense still has its limitations, but Cade McNamara — who now looks fully healthy — gives the Hawkeyes the highest ceiling at quarterback they've had in quite some time.
In a game where WMU could very easily get shut out, I'll trust this Iowa offense to open it up a bit more to get at least into the 30s against a bad MAC defense.
Plus, with the Big Ten slate starting next week, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz could really use an offensive explosion for his contract's scoring-based incentives.
Lastly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Iowa score on defense or even special teams, where it will have a massive advantage. The Hawkeyes won, 59-3, when these teams last met in 2013; don't be shocked at a similar result this weekend in Kinnick.
Washington vs. Michigan State
Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies rank third nationally in Success Rate and ninth in PPG (49.5).
Penix and explosive wideout Rome Odunze destroyed a solid Mountain West defense in Week 1, dropping 56 on Boise State in a 37-point victory. They followed it up by dropping 43 in a 33-point win against Tulsa.
Those two are firmly in the Heisman conversation.
This high-flying offense now faces a Michigan State team in shambles following sexual harassment accusations and the suspension of head coach Mel Tucker.
But I was low on Michigan State to begin the year, anyway. The offensive line is strong, but there’s little talent or depth across the rest of the roster.
The defense lost three of its top four tacklers from last year’s squad, including its two best defensive backs.
The offense lost quarterback Payton Thorne and top wideout Keon Coleman after spring practices (the latter looks to be a devastating loss, given Coleman’s early-season production at Florida State), plus the other top receiver from last year — Jayden Reed — now plays for the Packers.
I will admit Noah Kim and this young receiving core have exceeded my expectations early in the season. Plus, the defensive numbers are strong (19th in Success Rate Allowed, sixth in Explosiveness Allowed).
But an easy schedule has boosted Sparty’s valuation. Central Michigan looks much worse than expected (the Chips' offense behind Bert Emanuel Jr. is too gimmicky), and Richmond ranks 62nd among FCS teams in SP+’s offensive rankings.
I don’t expect Sparty’s offense to keep pace — or keep it close — against Washington’s electric offense, especially when factoring in the off-the-field issues.
The key factor here might be Washington’s defense. I think the Huskies improve upon their 60th-ranked Success Rate allowed metric as the year progresses.
This unit returned eight starters from last year’s squad, including an elite front seven that should go toe-to-toe with Michigan State’s biggest strength, a run game headlined by a decent running back room and a highly-experienced offensive line.
I smell a blowout. Sparty’s program is moving in the wrong direction, and Washington will be an impossibly stiff test after cookie-cutter wins in the first two weeks.